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Buddhism in Action for Peace
History & Philosophy
Stories and reflections on the Buddhist approach to life
On July 16, 1260, Nichiren presented his treatise entitled Rissho Ankoku Ron, literally “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land,” to the most politically powerful figure in Japan, the retired regent Hojo Tokiyori. He had perceived the corruption of self-promoting priests who were currying favor with political authorities, and his treatise was a passionate cry for a return to the original purpose of Buddhism—securing the peace and happiness of the people.
Nichiren believed that the teachings of Buddhism should help people overcome the fundamental human tendencies of greed, anger and foolishness—known as the “three poisons”—and realize their inherent potential, or Buddha nature, thereby leading fulfilled lives.
In his treatise, which takes the form of a dialogue, Nichiren starts by describing the turmoil he saw around him. “Over half the population has already been carried off by death, and there is hardly a single person who does not grieve.” He perceived that the immense suffering of the people, as a result of conflict, famine and disease, was ultimately caused by the corruption of the human spirit by the three poisons. Nichiren vowed to awaken and empower people to challenge their own destiny so that they could fulfill their potential and experience happiness in this life.
related article Buddhism in Cuba by Joannet Delgado, general director, SGI-Cuba Joannet Delgado, general director of SGI-Cuba, shares her journey of discovering Nichiren Buddhism and how it took root in her country. He understood that in order to restore peace and security to the country it was necessary for the political system to reorient itself toward serving the common people. Nichiren also called on the leaders to “reform the tenets that you hold in your heart.”
After making his treatise public, he survived numerous attempts on his life, including being exiled twice.
In this treatise Nichiren was calling on people to embrace the Lotus Sutra and the practice of chanting “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.” Through this practice, he aimed at reorienting the values of human beings toward those embodied in the Lotus Sutra. SGI President Ikeda comments: “On a societal level, ‘establishing the correct teaching’ means establishing the concepts of human dignity and the sanctity of life as principles that support and move society.”
SGI members strive to put into practice the teachings of Nichiren and to advance the ideal of rissho ankoku in order to help build the foundations of a peaceful world.